Syllabus, Fall Semester, 1994
Pawling Hall 303, 2:00-2:50 MWF
Office: Pawling Hall 206
Phone: (502) 863-8075
Tuesday & Thursday 1:00-2:00, 2:30-3:30
This course is a study of the founding of the United States. The
course covers the origin, nature, and consequences of the American
Revolution, the early years of government under the Articles of
Confederation, the adoption of the United States Constitution,
and the political development of the new nation through the War
Textbooks and Required Readings:
Students are required to read the following books:
Drew R. McCoy, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in
Jeffersonian America (Chapel Hill: University of North
Carolina Press, 1980; paperback ed., New York: W. W. Norton, 1982)
Charles Royster, A Revolutionary People At War: The Continental
Army and American Character, 1775-1783 (Chapel Hill: University
of North Carolina Press, 1979; paperback ed., New York: W. W.
Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992; paperback ed., New York:
Vintage Books, 1993)
Students will be able to discuss the factors which contributed
to the coming of the American Revolution, the forces which influenced
the outcome of the War of the Revolution, the effects of the Revolution
on the course of American democracy, and the factors which shaped
the efforts to build a government for the New Nation. Students
will be able to critically evaluate two recent monographs on the
Revolutionary period and to assess the impact of these books on
the historical interpretation of the Revolutionary period.
Exams: All exams
will be essay exams. Three exams will be given during the course
of the semester. Each of the first two exams will cover about
one-third of the course material and each will count for 25 percent
of the student's final grade. The first two exams have been tentatively
scheduled for September 26 and November 2. The third exam will
cover the last third of the course material and the book The
Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood.
Questions on the Wood book will require some review of material
covered on the first two exams. The third exam will count for
35 percent of the student's final grade and will be given during
the final exam period on Friday, December 9, at 12:00-2:00.
Position Paper and Panel Discussion: Each student will prepare and present to the class a position paper on one of the following issues: (1) Was political ideology the most important factor which prompted the American Revolution? (2) Was the course of the American Revolution decisively shaped by class conflict within American society? (3) Was the adoption of the U.S. Constitution the logical outgrowth of the revolutionary principles or a refutation of those principles? (4) Did Thomas Jefferson have a slave mistress? (5) Were the Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional? (6) Did Congress make the correct decision in 1812 to go to war to stop Britain's interference with American interests? Students must pick the subject of their report by August 29.
Students will present their arguments orally during class in a panel discussion with other students working on the same topic. The panel discussions have been tentatively scheduled for the following dates: (1) Political ideology--September 9; (2) Class conflict in the Revolution--October 3; (3) Constitution--October 28; (4) Jefferson--November 7; (5) Alien and Sedition Acts--November 16; (6) War of 1812--November 30.
Each student will also summarize their arguments in a written
paper, which is due at the time the oral presentation is made.
While there is no maximum or minimum length required for the written
report, papers of 10-12 pages are ideal. The position paper and
oral presentation will count for 15 percent of the student's final
grade. More detailed instructions about the preparation of the
position paper will be given later.
Students will be allowed to make up missed assignments only with
the consent of the instructor. Ordinarily, the instructor will
accept make-up assignments only in cases of unavoidable student
absences, such as those caused by illness or by a death in the
immediate family. Students may be required to document the causes
of their absences before the make-up work will be accepted by
See the schedule below.
Grading and Evaluation of
Students: The following grading scale will be used
in this course: A 90.0--100.0; B 80.0--89.9; C 70.0--79.9; D 60.0--69.9;
F 59.9 and below. Final semester grades for the course will be
determined by counting the course assignments and exams in the
following proportions: exam 1--25 percent; exam 2--25 percent;
exam 3--35 percent; position paper and oral presentation--15 percent.
Class attendance will also affect the final semester grade. See
the section on attendance below.
Attendance: Class attendance will be checked in every class period. At the end of the semester, class attendance will be used in calculating the final semester grade.
Attendance records will be used to determine the final grade of students who are on the borderline between two grades (i.e., students who are within one semester point of the higher grade). In the case of a student who is on the borderline between two grades, the student with 0-2 unexcused absences will receive the higher of the two grades.
Students with 6 or more unexcused absences will receive the following penalties: 6-8 absences--minus one letter grade from semester average; 9-11 absences--minus two letter grades from semester average; 12 or more absences--the grade of F for the semester.
The following constitute excused absences: (1) illness, with a note from a doctor or the dean; (2) death in the immediate family, with a note from the dean; (3) required appearance in a court of law, with a note from the dean; (4) representing the college in an extracurricular activity, with a note from the faculty or administrative adviser of the activity and the prior approval of the instructor of this course.
Please note that some college extracurricular activities do not justify an excused absence, so prior approval of the absence by the instructor is required. Athletes who plan to miss class for a game must notify the instructor before each absence to receive an excused absence. Students who plan to miss class for such activities as work, job interviews, job fairs, weddings, vacations, completing work for other courses, etc., should save their cuts for these purposes.
Students who arrive late to a session of the class should check
with the instructor at the end of that class session to be certain
that their attendance has been recorded.
who are auditing the course will receive an audit credit only
if they have 5 or fewer absences in the class. Auditors are not
required to come to class on exam days.
The following tentative schedule should be used as a guide for
the completion of assignments and readings. Required readings
are listed below the topic of each day's class.
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Dr. Harold D. Tallant, Department of History, Georgetown College